The Attorneys General of 10 States have asked the Supreme Court to reverse the February 16 directive by President Muhammadu Buhari retaining only the old N200 note as legal tender.
The States, in a motion filed on Friday, want the apex Court to issue an order setting aside “the directive contained in the special and presidential media broadcast delivered on Thursday, the 16th of February, 2023 by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for being an unconstitutional overreach and usurpation of the judicial power of this court on a matter constituting the subject matter of the pending suit herein, and in respect whereof there subsists an order of interim injunction binding on all parties inclusive of the President who is a party through the named nominal defendant in person of the first defendant, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as the Chief legal officer of the Federation.”
The application, a copy of which was sighted on Saturday, was filed in the name of the AGs of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti, Katsina, Ogun, Cross River, Lagos and Sokoto States.
They stated that the “application stems from the directive made by the President of the federation in his special and Presidential broadcast delivered on Thursday, the 16th of February 2023.
“The substantive suit, which is currently before this court, commenced on the 8th February 2023. “
“The plaintiffs/applicants, by a motion ex-parte, prayed this honourable court for an interim injunction to the effect that the old naira notes (200 naira, 500 naira, and 1000 naira notes) remain legal tender in Nigeria, pending the determination of the notion on notice.
“Pursuant to the ex-parte application, an interim injunction was granted on 8th February 2023 and same remains binding on all parties, including the President of the Federation, who is a party, through the Chief Legal Officer of the Federation (the AGF).
“The interim order of this honourable court made on 8th February 2023 was reaffirmed by this Court on 15 February 2023 and by virtue of which the Federal Government has also submitted to the jurisdiction of this honourable court (Supreme Court), having appeared to the suit; thus making subject matter subjudice.
“Contrary to the order of the honourable count (Supreme Court), the substantive first defendant (the AGF) through the President of the Federation, and its agent, the Central Bank of Nigeria, have repeatedly released statements that the old naira notes are no longer legal tender, hence resulting in misleading the general public on what the status quo to be complied with, pendent lite, should be .
“On the last date of the court’s proceeding, the plaintiffs’ lead counsel informed this honourable court that the plaintiffs have filed an affidavit of the first defendant’s noncompliance with the order of the honourable court delivered on the 8th of February 2023 and this shows the first defendant’s executive lawlessness, affront to the independent of the Judiciary and touching on the supremacy of the Constitution.
“Sequel to grounds four and six above, and contrary to the position of the first defendant’s counsel in court, the first defendant decided to openly flout the orders of the honourable court on Thursday, the 16th of February, 2023, when the President delivered his special presidential
media broadcast during which the President openly and publicly varied the order of the court by directing that all the old naira notes, excluding the old 200 naira, were no longer legal tender and same would not be accepted except by the Central Bank of Nigeria, at its branches, or designated points.
“The first defendant (the President of the Federation) categorically stated, varying the subsisting order of the apex court that he has given a revised approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released beck into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10 2023 when the old N200 notes ceases to be legal tender while all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at CBN and designated points.
“In the face of the subsistence of the Supreme Court’s order, and now the Presidential directive that came subsequent to the court order, which order was referenced by the President in his broadcast , the public is placed in an embarrassing dilemma as to which directives/order should be complied with, between the order of the Supreme Court’s and the counter directive of the fish defendant which was issued later in time.
“The powers of this honourable court by virtue of section 232 (1), Section 6 (6)(b) and Section 287 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), include the protection of its dignity and ensure due compliance with its orders by all persons and authorities.
“The grant of this application is imperative to restore faith and confidence in the court as being to dominis litis over the instant suit and to stave off further confusion as to obligations of obeisance to the extant orders of the court by all and throughout the country.”